Lightbridge Academy Provides Tips for Helping Children Eat Vegetables

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Thanksgiving to provide perfect opportunity to create fun around veggies and the dinner table for parents and children

No parent likes to fight on Thanksgiving. Yet this year, millions of adults will venture into epic battles with their toddlers over eating their vegetables. Lightbridge Academy, a New Jersey-based leading child education franchise, has created its annual list of ways to help children eat their vegetables.

"Unless a child is in the one percent, the vast majority of children hate eating vegetables," said Gigi Schweikert, President and COO. "Somewhere deep in history, children started perceiving vegetables as 'yucky', when the reality is, the vast majority of adults would love to remind themselves of the regret they have for not eating more as a child."

Science can play a role in the eating of veggies:

  • Babies are more likely to eat carrots, green beans, spinach or broccoli when they’ve tasted the vegetables mixed into milk or rice cereal for 12 days each.
  • Children aged three to five are more likely to eat bell peppers after watching a video of a child eating bell peppers.
  • Children aged three to five are more likely to choose vegetables over a granola bar when the veggies are packaged with cartoon character labels and they had to wait an extra five minutes for the granola bar.

Rather than having mounds of leftovers (you, too, will splurge on turkey and stuffing), here are six tips from Lightbridge Academy to help fill Thanksgiving with love instead of war:

Create an Incentive: The Thanksgiving table is full of delicious foods. Trade them one bite of biscuit for one bite of veggies. Trade them one bite of veggies for 15 minutes of TV or cell phone time. While you want to be careful to not tie an incentive to every bite, having fun with the plate of food can encourage better eating behaviors over time.

Create a “Try It” Game: By encouraging your child to just take one bite, you will eventually, over time, change their eating behaviors. Dieticians suggest it will take eight to 10 times before a food habit is changed. Why wait for a New Year’s resolution for your five-year-old—encourage change now? Play a game to see who can eat the most bites of vegetables (which is especially beneficial if other children are present).

Don’t Force Them to Finish a Full Plate: Too much is too much. Set small goals for them in the beginning. There is true benefit in baby steps. Celebrate the winning of one-bite. Give them high fives and a heaping scoop of praise.

Play to Their Favorite Color: What is your child’s favorite color? When shopping for veggies for Thanksgiving, let them pick out veggies that match their favorite color. This will create collaboration around the experience. When you get home, let them participate in the prep and cooking of the food. And, in a worst-case scenario, use a vegetable dye to change the color of their food (especially for food color-friendly foods like cauliflower).

Bacon, Bacon, Bacon – Oh, and Butter: There isn’t much more that has to be said about this one. While not particularly the healthiest options for making food taste better, a little bacon or butter can add familiar flavors to their pallets. Also, a good game of hide and go veggie is fun, too. Those rolls, that stuffing, that pie – adding fruits and vegetables (grounded up) can help distribute more good-for-you foods into the mix.

Children Love Patterns: At school, many learning exercises are created around patterns. Do the same with their plate. Have them create patterns of similar foods. Have them go around in a circle, taking one bite of each. Have them mess up their plate and organize again. A little food fun can help encourage exploration of new foods.

It's not just vegetable tips that Lightbridge Academy is an expert in and cares about. Creating a strong foundation of core family values and growing a culture that lives by and reinforces them has helped the brand achieve explosive success. In 2015 and 2016, Lightbridge Academy was ranked as a Top New Franchise by Entrepreneur magazine. Most recently, the brand was listed in the Entrepreneur 500 ranking for the first time ever. Now, fueled by last year's momentum, Lightbridge is entering the new year with an emphasis on increasing its density in the markets it has already entered, while also expanding its presence into new markets where the need for the brand's unique services are in high demand. And as the educational child care sector continues to grow in the years to come, Lightbridge Academy is positioning itself to be at the forefront of this important industry in 2017 and beyond.

"As Innovators in Educational Child Care, Lightbridge Academy wants to set the trends in the child care industry—we don't want to be a trend follower. We consider ourselves experts, and we're always evolving and looking for new ways to provide the best experience possible for children and parents," Falzarano said. "It's our goal to continue meeting the care and educational needs of both parents and children. This will continue to set Lightbridge Academy apart in the future."

ABOUT LIGHTBRIDGE ACADEMY®About Lightbridge Academy®: Established in 1997, Lightbridge Academy provides early education and child care to children ages six weeks through kindergarten, as well as special programming for children up to 10 years old during school holidays, breaks and summer camp. The company franchised in 2011 in an effort to expand their distinctive concept throughout the Northeast; it currently has over 85 child care centers either open, under construction or in development throughout Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Founded by Guy and Julia Falzarano, the family remains deeply involved in the company, from Guy Falzarano as CEO to multiple grandchildren enrolled in the child care facilities. To learn more about Lightbridge Academy, prospective families and franchisees are encouraged to visit or call 866-470-0262.

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Cassie McAloon
1851 Franchise
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